Big Land, Small Ships, Unlimited Adventure!
With its astonishing glaciers, abundant wildlife, rugged beauty, and native culture, a cruise in the Great Land of Alaska is on the top of many must-see travel lists. The pandemic has put most travel plans on hold, but your wait is almost over!
Editor’s Note: This post, originally published December 9, 2020, has been updated with the following new information: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Canada Transport has extended its ban on cruises until March 1, 2022. This ban will cancel all 2021 Alaska cruises on foreign-flagged ships carrying over 100 passengers that must include a stop in a Canadian port to comply with the U.S. Jones Act.
The good news: Several cruise lines with U.S.-flagged, small ships (perfectly sized for private charter) may still be able to operate in Alaska this year. They typically operate from Alaskan homeports and do not need to rely on Canadian ports of call in order to satisfy cabotage laws. So now is the time to plan your great adventure in America’s “last frontier”!
Safe Cruising in the Great Outdoors
All ships ready to cruise in Alaska have new Health & Safety Protocols in place onboard and shoreside to protect their guests, crew, and the communities you visit. All cruise lines now require proof of negative COVID-19 tests within 72 hours of embarkation, and many cruise lines also require that guests be vaccinated. So you can sail worry-free to Alaska’s wide-open spaces with your group of family, friends, or business colleagues.
To give you an idea of the variety of experiences that await you, we’ve selected four unique ships & Alaskan voyages. Since they are U.S.-flagged ships, they are not affected by the Canada cruise ban. And all are ideal for private charter.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19, ships, itineraries, and sailing dates are subject to change without notice.
1. Lindblad Expeditions – Wild Alaska Escapes
For 30+ years, Lindblad’s intimate ships, unparalleled expedition team, and vast connections to the region have revealed the magic of Alaska. Every voyage also has tools specially designed for exploration, allowing you and your group to go further and get closer to the ineffable wonders of nature than you ever imagined possible. Lindblad-National Geographic’s permits from the US Forest Service enable you to hike in wild and remote areas of the Tongass National Forest, where paw prints outnumber footprints.
March 30, 2021 Update: Lindblad Expeditions announced that all guests and crew 16 or older must be fully vaccinated prior to boarding their vessels. Guests must also provide two negative COVID-19 test results.
Featured Ship & Itinerary: National Geographic Quest or Venture, 6-night Alaska Adventure
On this 6-day adventure voyage, you sail deep into the fjords and narrow, wildlife-rich channels to encounter abundant and varied wildlife of Southeast Alaska. You’ll have opportunities to experience the surprisingly colorful undersea world through video shot by Lindblad’s undersea specialist, kayak amid glacial ice, explore misty Fiords, and by special permission hike in the Tongass National Forest
National Geographic Quest or Venture (100 guests): National Geographic Quest and sister ship National Geographic Venture are intimate expedition ships that accommodate guests in 50 outside cabins. There are 22 cabins featuring step-out balconies, and 6 sets of connecting cabins perfect for families or groups. An open bow and sun deck have ample space for all guests to stand together and share in the wildlife viewing experience.
2. UnCruise Adventures – Unique Exploration, Uncommon Adventure
Small boats. Small groups. Smail footprint. This is the ethos of UnCruise Adventures. Their small vessels host 22 to 86 nature-lovers ready to explore the wild. You can expect personalized service, expert guides, and fresh, locally-sourced cuisine. There are zero hidden costs – non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, excursions, adventure equipment, transfers, and baggage handling are all included in the cruise fare.
March 23, 2021 Update: Uncruise Adventures announced that all guests and crew 18 or older must be fully vaccinated prior to boarding their vessels. Guests must also provide negative COVID-19 test results.
Featured Ship & Itinerary: Safari Quest 7-Night Alaska Glacier Country
Discover Alaska’s glaciers and wildlife during this adventure cruise on a small vessel chartered for your group. You’ll explore islands, glaciers, and forests; and kayak in remote inlets that bring you closer to wildlife. Highlights include one day in Glacier Bay National Park; bushwhacking in the Tongass National Park; exploring Fords Terror Wilderness Area by skiff; and wildlife searches for bears, eagles, sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and sea birds.
Safari Quest (22 guests): Small and agile, this adventure yacht can cut into the tiniest nooks that even our other small vessels can’t reach. This includes coveted wilderness areas with highly limited access of no more than two groups of twelve guests per day. Safari Quest features spacious and comfy cabins, a cozy and welcoming lounge and dining room, and plenty of onboard niches for relaxing.
3. Alaska Dream Cruises – True Alaska Adventures
Alaska Dream Cruises offers authentic and personal expedition adventures through Alaska’s Inside Passage. These all-inclusive voyages offer a mix of excursions in intriguing towns and Native villages, and adventures in raw wilderness bays and glacial fjords. Every experience is hand-picked to immerse you in True Alaska.
Featured Ship & Itinerary: Alaskan Dream, 5-night Alaska’s Islands, Whales & Glaciers
This expedition is ideal for adventure seekers, with more time spent in remote areas. The vessel is anchored on most nights, providing more opportunities for kayak paddles and other active excursions. Your knowledgeable captain and shore-side management will determine the week’s best route based on wildlife migrations and patterns, guest interests, and weather.
Alaskan Dream (40 guests): The Alaskan Dream’s innovative, streamlined catamaran design allows the small vessel to easily navigate narrow channels and passages. All cabins feature extra-large viewing windows. The Vista View lounge faces forward with the same view as the captain, affording spectacular views of the scenery, ports, and wildlife along the way.
4. American Cruise Lines – Modern Comfort, American Adventure
American Cruise Lines boasts the newest and most environmentally friendly small cruise ships and riverboats in America. Highlights include large staterooms with private balconies, complimentary onboard and shore experiences, and gracious hospitality from an all-American crew.
March 18, 2021 Update: American Cruise Line announced that all guests and crew 18 or older must be fully vaccinated prior to boarding their vessels. Guests must also provide negative COVID-19 test results.
Featured Ship & Itinerary: American Constellation 7-Night Southeast Alaska
Sailing roundtrip from Juneau, highlights of this incredible journey include a visit to Mendenhall Glacier, exclusive access to Glacier Bay, up-close bald eagle viewing in Haines, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cruise under Tracy Arm’s 1,500-foot vertical cliffs.
American Constellation (175 guests): Onboard the only fully stabilized small cruise ship in the region, your group will enjoy the smoothest cruise available with every modern comfort and convenience. Guests will find the largest staterooms in the industry, spacious lounges, as well as observation decks and private balconies that offer spectacular views of the passing landscapes.